Afghanistan presidential election 2014 - the candidates

Zalmai Rassoul - the cosmopolitan candidate

Zalmai Rassoul
Zalmai Rassoul Open access/Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor (US armed forces)

Zalmai Rassoul, 70, former head of National Security Council, resigned foreign affairs minister to run. A Pashtun of the Barakshai tribe born in Kabul, he studied medicine in France in the 1970s.


Rassoul speaks Dari, French, English and Italian but is reported to be only learning Pashtun now.

As director of the Secretariat of Mohammad Zaher Shah, he was a delegate to the 2001 Bonn conference that planned Afghanistan's post-Taliban future and deposed the king. Being close to Karzai, he became civil aviation minister and later foreign affairs minister and has been rumoured to have the incumbent's backing in 2014.

One of only two candidates to have a woman on his ticket.

Running mates:

  • First vice-president, Ahmad Zia Massoud;
  • Second vice-president, Habiba Surabi.

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